Recycling Part 1

Recycling, we all know, is good.

Over the years, I have decided not just to put all my paper and plastic and glass into recycling bins, but that I will also practice recycling by not buying a lot of new stuff. How much furniture have I bought in my adult life! How much have I resold, donated, thrown on the street as trash! I have nothing — no thing — (furniture-wise) that I had ten years ago!

Of course, you don’t take much with you when you move from one continent to another and aren’t rich or have an employer who’ll cover the costs. That’s my excuse.

But now, most of what I owned WAS somebody else’s ten years ago. And that makes me proud. So there.

I’ve always loved old stuff, so it’s not been hard for me. And I was in love with “mid-century modern” before it had a name.

My new furnishings (I won’t buy more, the house is full) consist of a sofa, a beautiful shelf unit, the kitchen cart, my desk, filing cabinet and the bed and nightstand in the guest bedroom (Ikea), which I wouldn’t have gotten if I hadn’t had a guest coming.

I prowl the thrift stores and the ReStores if I have the time (not enough), I browse Etsy and craigslist. I find stuff on the street (3 chairs so far!).

And I re-use stuff that came with the house. I had walls pulled out in the basement and re-use the two-by-fours for new walls and other things. Had a cinder block wall torn down and the basement door removed and built a tool bench from them. The cinder blocks and some of the plywood are also supporting my new washer and dryer (those things I get new!).

The favorite thing that I found when I tore the walls around the basement stairs down were remnants of rolls of wallpaper. I think they’re from the 1930s or 1940s. Maybe later. The shocking thing was: they’re my colors! There wasn’t much that was usable because they’d been chewed on my generations of mice, but, by god, I did use them. If only as a tribute to former dwellers.

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Here they lie.
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This is a shiny, embossed beige.

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Since there was so very little, I put them in a not-so-obvious spot: Inside the basement door by the dining room.
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Well, it’s practice! Note the mouse bitten parts.
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I now wish I had done a row of the flowers then beige then flowers.
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This beauty was so fragile I could never have put glue on a large piece of it without it falling apart.
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So I got inspired by a friend’s suggestion to frame them, cut up smaller pieces and “framed” it in the panels of the door.

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And finally did frame all three.

Now I will introduce you to my “finds”:

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I got this lovely at a shop in Manhattan called Furnish Green a few years ago.
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Sears brought me the box spring I ordered but not the bed frame! And they could not promise when they could bring it! I cancelled the order. That weekend was the annual porch sale on our block and I bought the bed frame from an elderly gentleman who lives on the corner for $20. A bed frame is a bed frame.
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Lamp from Etsy, end table from Furnish Green. I have two of each.
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The scratched up old secretary was standing outside our apartment building in Queens. One of the custodians saved it from the trash for me.
I bought this at a thrift store called Troc in Bonn in 2010. My only actual antique.
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Bought these two chairs from a young woman in Bonn in 2010 as well for 60 euros.
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Not old, but as-is from Ikea.
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Table: Etsy. Phone: eBay, I believe, it was a prop for when my son was in “Rent”
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The pictures are all from people who buy art at estate sales on Etsy. The one you can’t see at the top I found in the trash in Queens.
Bought from some young women who pick up old furniture and paint it and sell it on FB marketplace. The mixer was my grandmother’s and works fine.
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Same sellers as the icebox.
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Typewriter and table from Etsy. I use them.
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Etsy also. It was hard to find a nice solid record player stand that was the right size.
A neighbor lady moved into assisted living and her daughter said I could have her porch furniture. I’ll take anything, but had trepidations because I didn’t know what the cushions would look like.
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I LOVE MY KITCHEN TABLE AND CHAIRS. I wasn’t even looking for them!
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Nightstand from a woman who really does beautiful old furniture painting when her baby’s asleep.
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I almost screamed when I finally did go get the cushions. GORGEOUS!
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Another neighbor gave me this, all beaten up and dusty. I spray-painted it. I don’t like it much, but it holds stuff.
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I was sure this would fit over my fridge but it was too wide by half an inch.

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That trestle table is also from the girls with the icebox and dresser. They brought it by accident, so I took it too.

Now I never showed you my dining room furniture. Maybe next time. And next post I’ll tell you about the chairs from the street!

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